These bars are one of a kind. Every bite is a cake, pie, and a bar all in one. It has three layers of textures and flavors that are sure to pair well with a cup of tea or coffee!
It almost reminds me of a Boston Cream Pie, but it doesn’t have a cream filling. Instead, it has a layer of saltine buttery crust, fluffy peanut butter cake, and a nice thick layer of chocolate ganache. YUM!
1/2 pack of saltine crackers (can use other crackers but I find these to be so delicious with the salty and sweet combo)
5 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
For the peanut butter cake layer-
1/4 cup slightly melted peanut butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup pancake mix ( I used a buttermilk mix)
1/3 cup whole milk or half/half
1 scoop vanilla whey protein (about 3 tablespoons)
For the chocolate ganache layer-
1 tablespoon melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 pack of semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk + more as needed
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick or butter, then line with parchment paper. I usually cut about two rectangles and lay them across each other. It doesn’t have to cover the entire pan just each side will do (this will help you pull it out at the end).
Next, grind your saltine crackers and mix in with the melted butter and sugar. Once this is all combined, pack it down into the prepared loaf pan and set aside.
Mix all of the cake ingredients together- the slightly melted peanut butter ( I place it in a microwave safe dish and heat about 15-20 seconds) then I add with the pancake mix, milk, protein, and slowly add in the egg. Mix until just combined then pour on top of the saltine crust.
Bake for 21-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Let the cake/ crust cool at least 15 minutes.
Make your chocolate ganache by melting chocolate chips with butter/oil, and milk under a double broiler or in the microwave until it melts. It may be slightly thick and that’s perfect! Place it in the fridge until you’re ready to pour it on top of the cake/crust. It’s okay if the cake is slightly warm as this will help spread the chocolate!
Once ready, pour the ganache on top of the cake, spread around evenly, then place it in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours until the chocolate is pretty set (you can also place it in the freezer for 45 minutes).
Run a knife along the edges of the entire cake and then pull out with the parchment paper and place on top of a cutting board.
Cut the bars into six equal slices. Place it in an airtight container in the fridge, they keep well when they’re cold then voila!
**These store well in the refrigerated 4-5 days or in the freezer for about a month if it’s stored tightly with wrap**
Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, ground nutmeg and and beat on high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 more Tablespoon of flour.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Place each portion onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems too sticky. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
Lightly dust one of the rolled-out doughs with flour. Place a piece of parchment on top. (This prevents sticking.) Place the 2nd rolled-out dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it– see me do this in the video above. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough.
Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.
Make the icing: Mix all of the ingredients together, divide into bowls or piping bags with different colors if you want to make colorful glazed cookies!
Decorate the cooled cookies with the glaze.
Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. You can also refrigerate up to 10 days.
Ahh, this is the kind of coffee cake I’ve always dreamed about eating! Light and moist, not too sweet, and with some texture on the top. It is marvelous!
I should also mention that I make this cake with sourdough starter discard! YES! no more throwing away your starter discard. If you don’t have sourdough starter “discard” then by all means, sour cream or yogurt would work heavenly here as well! However, I highly recommend the starter discard because I firmly believe that funky, fruity, smelly starter really helped achieve that UMPH in this lovely cake 🙂
About sourdough starter/ starter discard:
If you’re not sure what sourdough starter is- allow me to explain (even though I’m no professional he he). Sourdough starter is simply a combination of warm water, and flour. It is mixed together, then placed in a large enough jar to ferment in the course of about a week. Everyday that week, the starter rises overnight (ferments) and requires “feeding” which means you “throw away” about half of what has risen and then feed it with more warm water and flour. Now, I HATE throwing away food…it hurts…so when I found out there’s actually a way to use that “discard” I was very pleased! And let me tell ya, it’s GOLD :). You can actually use that “discard” to make a lot of delicious baked treats! Pancakes, waffles, pizza, heck…even bread! I used this sourdough starter recipe in case you’re interested in making some of this gold too!
1 packet instant apple cinnamon oatmeal (can sub for 1/3 cup rolled oats or an extra 1/3 cup nuts)
1/3 cup pecans or nuts of choice
For the coffee cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup starter discard (or sour cream/ yogurt)
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease your round pan (I used a springform pan but a 9×9 works) with butter and dust with flour (to prevent cake from sticking).
Melt the butter in a small saucepan then add brown sugar, maple syrup, instant oatmeal, and salt. Pour the caramel to the bottom of the buttered pan then sprinkle with nuts. Set it aside while working on the cake batter.
In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the rest of the ingredients – sugar, starter, egg, melted butter (cooled), and oil. Mix until everything is just combined. The batter will be slightly sticky and thick.
Spoon the batter by spoonfuls on top of the caramel until you’ve spooned it all then spread it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake it in the oven for 20 -25 minutes until it has set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let it sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
Loosen edges of cake with a knife and invert a large platter over the cake. Using hot pads, grasp edges of cake pan and flip over. Remove pan and spoon any topping in pan back onto cake.
Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. It’s best eaten the day of but can be left in the fridge for a couple days or the fridge for a couple weeks. Simply pop it in the microwave and heat up 10 seconds or so.
This recipe is so incredibly easy and DELICIOUS! You just throw everything in the crock pot, let it cook for hours, and BAM you’re done!
I love how versatile this recipe is! You can use leftovers in pizza, a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, mac and cheese, creamy enchiladas, etc!! It goes well with anything and it will feed the entire family!
Season the pork with a generous amount of salt and pepper then sprinkle the cumin all over the pork. Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker.
Add the rest of the toppings- garlic, salsa, and barbecue sauce then cover and set on low for 6-8 hours.
Take the pork out of the crock pot and into a bowl to shred then place back in with the juices. (Please note, if you want the fat removed you can just save the juices in a measuring cup and place it in the fridge or on top of ice so the fat hardens on top. Simply trim and remove the fat then cover the pork with the juices).
A few side dish ideas are:
Mac and Cheese
Garlicky Mashed Potatoes
*These store well in the fridge for 5-6 days! And you may freeze for longer*
Behold my favorite muffin recipe to date! Chocolate banana muffins that are moist, rich, and hearty. I must admit, I was a bit hesitant to post this recipe and doubting whether or not this was perfect enough…but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing! It’s perfectly sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, it’s not too light or too dense (it’s in between), and it actually holds me over till the next meal. It honestly kind of has a chocolate graham cracker kind of flavor and I think it’s DIVINE! I love that each ingredient is nice and healthy, and I can top these off with extra yogurt, or peanut butter if I want more decadence.
A couple things to note:
The sweetness in here comes from the ripe banana (the riper the sweeter) and Sweetleaf stevia but you can add maple syrup if you’d like to make it sweeter! I’d say about 2-3 tablespoons would do just fine.
Most of the fat in this recipe comes from an avocado! YUP it’s such a mild taste that you won’t even tell it’s there. The chocolate definitely takes over (and i’m all for it). But the avocado in combination with the yogurt just adds the richness you’re looking for in a muffin.
I also use a blender to mix the dry and the wet ingredients separately then I combine the two together. If you don’t have a blender, I’m almost positive a food processor would also work although I haven’t tried.
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I love using a dark unsweetened cocoa powder-it’s so rich)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (any milk will do)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 drops Sweetleaf stevia (optional and can sub 2-3 tablespoons liquid sweetener of choice such as maple syrup)
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 large ripe banana
1 large ripe avocado
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 6 ct muffin pan (for large muffins) or 12 ct muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Put all of the dry ingredients into the blender and blend until flour consistency (oats through cocoa powder) then place into a large bowl.
Next, blend all of the wet ingredients (almond milk through avocado) in the blender until smooth, and gently pour it into the dry ingredients bowl and stir until just combined and no flour mixture is unmixed. The key to the perfect muffin is to not over mix :). The batter will be pretty thick and kinda lumpy and that’s perfectly okay!
Evenly distribute the mix into the muffin pan, and let it bake for 18-20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to test if the muffin is done.
4 air chilled (if possible) chicken breasts thinly sliced -you can also slice yourself if you prefer
2 cups frozen spinach
1/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1 oz (or 1/4 cup) goat cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1-2 tablespoons olive oil for seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F and greasing a sheet pan with nonstick spray or laying some foil or parchment paper.
Place your chicken on the sheet pan, and pat your chicken breasts dry (if not air chilled). Create the slit on the side of the chicken breast opening it up for the filling. Season your chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. You can also drizzle the inside with a little bit of olive oil for extra flavor. Set the chicken aside and start working on the filling.
In a medium bowl, combine the frozen spinach (no need to drain or anything), the yogurt, cheeses, and sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper.
Fill the inside of each chicken breast with the creamy spinach filling. Close each chicken breast with either toothpicks or roll and place slit side down on baking sheet (I actually didn’t have toothpicks). If you have extra chicken filling you can just spread the rest on top of the stuffed chicken rolls.
Drizzle with olive oil and season the top with salt and pepper if desired.
Bake for 35-38 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer.
*These store well in the fridge 5 days or cooked in the freezer for a couple months*
*To reheat simply preheat oven to 350 and bake until warmed through or reheat in the microwave for a minute*
I know I say this a lot…but this WILL be the easiest recipe you will ever make. It’s also absolutely delicious!
This is now my go to breakfast in the morning. I personally love a healthy delicious grab and go breakfast on days when I don’t feel like whipping something up from scratch and this is perfect. You can heat this up and serve it…or even eat it cold. It’s delicious both ways!
1 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened is my preference)
5 egg whites or (1/2 cup liquid egg whites)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup *optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray or grease with coconut oil/ butter.
Pour the two cups of uncooked rolled oats evenly at the bottom of the baking sheet. Cut your banana in half and slice that half (if you haven’t already).
Place the slices on top of the oats, and then aesthetically place all of the blueberries evenly around then set the baking sheet aside.
In a separate bowl, mash the other half of the banana and add the almond milk, egg whites, maple, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking powder. Beat the ingredients together then pour it directly on top of the baking sheet with fruit/ oats.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the top is set. Allow it to cool completely, then slice and serve with yogurt, more berries, and a drizzle of nut butter, or maple syrup. Endless topping possibilities 🙂
*These store well in the refrigerator 5 days, you can also individually wrap and freeze/ defrost for up to 2 months*
egg wash (for the end): 1 large egg mixed with 2 teaspoons milk
For the Glaze:
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon milk (can use more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make your crust: In a food processor or by hand with a pastry cutter, mix the flour, salt, and sugar together, vegetable shortening and pulse everything together until you have pea sized pieces throughout the dough.
Add the ice cold water little by little, until you form a the dough.
Take your dough and cover in plastic wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
Make your filling: Mix all of the filling ingredients together (except for the egg wash) and set aside.
Assemble your hand pies: on a floured surface roll out the dough into a large square or triangle, and cut your dough into even rectangles. Note- it’s okay if they aren’t perfect! I personally prefer the rustic look 😉
Make your egg wash: simply beat your egg with milk in a small bowl
Brush each rectangle bottom with some egg wash (this will help everything stick) and fill with the brown sugar filling ( I like filling a generous amount) then cover with another rectangle (that isn’t brushed with egg wash). Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork and then poke three wholes on top (so the filling doesn’t explode). Transfer into a lined baking sheet with parchment paper.
Continue until you’ve assembled all your pastries. Refrigerate your pastries for at least 20 minutes (highly recommend if you can) while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the pastries with the remaining egg wash and pop them in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown.
Make the glaze: mix all of the glaze ingredients and set aside until the pastries have cooled, and are ready to be glazed. Once glazed, pop them back into the refrigerator so the glaze hardens 🙂
*These keep well at room temp 2-3 days or in the fridge 6 days. You can also freeze before glazing and store in an airtight container up to 3 months. Simply defrost the night before in the refrigerator and bake.*
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit + zest (optional but extra yummy!)
1/2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yogurt, poppy seeds, grapefruit zest and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
Transfer to a small greased loaf pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix grapefruit juice and powdered sugar to make the glaze.
Remove bread from oven. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Drizzle grapefruit glaze over bread and slice or chill in the refrigerator.
*Note: this bread can keep well in the fridge for 5-6 days. If you want a thicker glaze, you can add more powdered sugar, or extra juice or water to thin it out.
This bowl is so delightful for lunch. It can be eaten either cold or hot. I personally prefer to heat it up before eating it. I meal prep the ingredients ahead of time which makes it SO EASY to throw together in the morning for lunch in the afternoon. It’s easy to whip up if you have the roasted sweet potato cooked.
You can substitute pretty much any kind of meat, or veggies here! But this combination is heaven.
Micro Greens * (optional but helps boost nutrients)
4 oz. Ground Turkey
1/2 Cup Roasted Sweet Potato
2 Tablespoons Hummus
Coconut or Olive Oil for Cooking
Start by heating a non-stick skillet, and adding a little bit of oil.
Add your spinach. It won’t take too long for it to cook and wilt. It may seem like a lot of spinach but it will get smaller once it’s sauteed. You can add bell peppers, or mushrooms here to boost the flavor and a little bit of salt and pepper if you wish.
Next, assemble the bowl. Place the cooked spinach, then the rest of the ingredients and top with hummus.
If you meal prep this recipe, simply heat it up in the microwave for 1:30-2 minutes and then stir it all up and eat it.
*Note – this recipe stores well in the fridge for about 3-4 days!*